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How are Damages for Truck Accidents Calculated in Atlanta?

— March 21, 2022

You can get compensation for the wages you lost while you were in the hospital, but if you are left with a disability you may also seek compensation for lost earning capacity in the future.

Georgia’s economy relies on the trucking industry and the state sees a lot of large trucks on its roads every single day. Yet, this comes with great risks. In 2016, for instance, Georgia ranked fourth on the list of the states with the most accidents involving commercial vehicles. Unfortunately, many of these accidents occur in the Atlanta area which is the most important economic hub in the state. The consequences are severe as such terrifying crashes often result in catastrophic injuries requiring prolonged medical stays, surgeries and rehabilitation treatments. How are you going to pay for all that? If you were injured in a truck accident you have the right to file a personal injury claim, but you’d better get a skilled Atlanta truck accident lawyer to help you determine how much your claim is worth and who exactly is liable for your damages. It may be the trucker who is solely responsible for the crash, but a thorough investigation may reveal the trucking company can also be held accountable.

What kind of damages can I recover after a truck accident?

If you were injured in a truck accident and file a personal injury claim, you can seek compensatory or general damages. These are of two types:

Economic damages

These types of damages are easy to calculate as it all goes down to adding your medical bills, the value of your property damage and your lost wages.

However, this might be tricky without sound legal counsel from a knowledgeable Georgia truck accident lawyer. For instance, you shouldn’t hurry to settle a claim based solely on your current medical bills. You need to consider other medical interventions you might need in the future, like reconstructive surgery or rehabilitation treatments. A good lawyer can put you in touch with an independent medical expert to review your case and make sure all your future needs are taken into account.

The same goes for your lost wages. You can get compensation for the wages you lost while you were in the hospital, but if you are left with a disability you may also seek compensation for lost earning capacity in the future.

Non-economic damages

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These are also known as pain and suffering damages and you need a good truck accident lawyer to put a value on something that is after all subjective. In Georgia there are no caps on punitive damages. In most cases, the value of your pain and suffering is calculated by the multiplier method. This means that the value of your objective, economic damages is multiplied by a variable factor. The more serious your injuries, the higher the multiplier used.

Can you get punitive damages for a truck accident in Atlanta?

Your lawyer will advise you to file a lawsuit if you want to get punitive damages. Under Georgia law, these are only awarded if your lawyer can prove the party at fault acted with “willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” The party at fault may be the trucker or, in certain cases, his employer. For instance, if the truck driver was blind drunk at the time of the accident this shows complete indifference to consequences. At the same time, if the trucking company willfully employed a driver with a history of traffic violations and failed to provide him adequate training that also is proof of misconduct and indifference to consequences and they should be punished for what they did. In Georgia, punitive damages are capped at $250,000. 

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